103

Just because aviation developers use Python, does not mean that Python actually goes flying. Lots of aviation development is about testing, stressing, validating, analyzing, and documenting the code that does go flying. Python is an excellent language for all that validation work, even though it stays on the ground.


103

I would want to build in a way for the plane to try and save itself if possible (to save money) by auto-landing Had the situation allowed saving the airplane the human pilot would definitely have tried that first. The fact that a trained fighter jet pilot decided to eject from an aircraft knowing that the ejection was a last resort and could be deadly, ...


68

As far as Airbus is concerned: Each unit is composed of two dissimilar boards, one driving the output and the other checking it. Dissimilar means both different CPUs and chipsets (A320 uses i386 (Intel) and m68k (Motorola); newer models use different combinations, basically whatever was widely used at the time they were designed) and software written by two ...


59

To add some context to the other answers... Ejection is not a safe thing to do. The two most popular ejection systems today, the ACES II and Martin-Baker, have around a 90-92% success rate... the definition of success being the person lived. Most ejections result in some injury to the person, as it is a fairly violent activity, with a brief 20g impact when ...


46

Whatever it was programmed to do at the moment the pilot ejected. Ejection seats are complex enough without integrating special processing of the event into the autopilot. Since the autopilot can't land even an intact plane on its own, there's nothing it could do to save the plane. Some ejections are indeed performed from aircraft that could potentially be ...


38

Redundancy is not only achieved by multiplying the computers, but also by diversifying them. On Airbus airliners, two different computers are used (one with Intel chips, the other with Motorola chips in case of the A320) and software is written twice, one for control, the other for monitoring, by two teams which are not allowed to interact. To cite from ...


35

As a software engineer who works at a defence company that develops and sells mission critical (but not safety critical) systems, I can confirm that there's a pretty even split between development in Ada (95) for our legacy products and various flavours of C/C++ for our new products. Development in both is of course done to the appropriate standards. Python ...


33

Computers can, in fact, control the approach of a Super Hornet all the way to touchdown. However, there are limits to the sea state. Gross deviations in glide path resulting from a pitching deck would make a coupled approach impractical. However, the most compelling reason to hand fly all our approaches is that we fly a $60 million jet. Murphy's Law tells ...


32

The Navy does have systems that are capable of guiding an airplane in for a landing, and some aircraft can use this system to land completely on the autopilot. However, the system has not always been reliable and still has its limits, and other reasons for not always using this system are similar to those for land-based aircraft. Further reasons for this ...


28

All turbine-powered aircraft used in scheduled airline service under CFR Part 121 are required to have an approved TAWS installed; ยง121.354 Terrain awareness and warning system. (a) Airplanes manufactured after March 29, 2002. No person may operate a turbine- powered airplane unless that airplane is equipped with an approved terrain ...


24

All commercial aircraft have some form of redundancy in their instrumentation, but it's not always in the form of "analog" instruments. The backup is often electronic itself. But the overall system is designed with a very high level of redundancy. A typical modern jet aircraft has an Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS), which is the large screen ...


20

Aircrews seldom have to power off an aircraft completely (also known as a cold and dark cockpit). Airliners usually stay powered on at the gate. This is known as a "short turn-around": engines are stopped, the APU is stopped, but electrical power and air conditioning is still supplied by ground equipment. This has the advantage of minimizing turn-around ...


19

There are a few different ATC Systems and Radar Screens being used throughout the world, so there will be no set standard which applies globally, as vendors and setup differ. The ATC screen can be adjusted to show what information the controller needs, and some items are universal to all positions being served (Callsign, Speed, Altitude, Assigned Altitude), ...


18

Ok, I was posting this as a comment but was becoming ridiculously long... I worked for most of my professional life in fields that are somehow related. I can see that there are three areas of study that will help you a lot here. First: programming languages. Knowing a language used in the industry is a plus. Now I am working in the automotive/...


17

I suspect the only answer is "on the job". Learn both C and C++ and some embedded programming and try applying for any junior positions in companies doing avionics you'll find. Mobile phones can't really be considered embedded any more, but you should be able to find a course in robotics or cybernetics (industrial controllers) or an internship involving ...


17

If I wish to downgrade my software's design assurance level (DAL) from Level A to Level C, what do I need to do? DAL level A software is software which, if it fails, may have "catastrophic" results, defined as "Failure may cause multiple fatalities, usually with loss of airplane." DAL level C, "Failure significantly reduces the safety margin or ...


15

There have been issues with the 787 giving "nuisance" messages after starting up. One solution would be to start the process earlier, to leave time to deal with them. Another is to just never shut it down. However, the plane does need to be shut down sometimes for regular maintenance. A Boeing spokesperson said: No airplane in the fleet experienced that ...


14

There are three basic areas of coding for aviation engineers. Software code that runs on flight computers and other avionics equipment, software that formally verifies and creates that code, and scripting to automate informal work tasks. Python has different use cases in all of them. First, for actual on-airplane software. There are different safety ...


13

Short answer: an electronic logbook is legal; the FAA will accept almost anything as an endorsement; it's often most practical to collect endorsements on paper but electronic versions are also fine. First, the fundamental point about logbook formats is that the FAA defines what you have to log (14 CFR 61.51), but not how you log it. And clearly electronic ...


12

For simulators you have Part 60 of CFR 14 For airborne software the FAA has published AC 20-115, but the main document that refers to is the FAA/EASA RTCA DO-178/ED-12 currently at the "C" version: Software Considerations in Airborne Systems and Equipment Certification. If you want to certify (and thus commercialize) your software for flight, this is the ...


12

Reliability. If the computer or the sensors it needs are damaged (in combat or otherwise) or malfunctioning then the human has to bring the plane in. The only way the human is going to be able to do that extremely precise flying is through regular disciplined practice. They can't practice if the computer is doing the landing for them. Until you can leave ...


12

The investigation into Lauda Air Flight 004 determined that the probable cause was the deployment of the left engine thrust reverser (TR) during climb. An unsuspecting crew would not be able to recover control of the aircraft after such an event. Damage to the components involved in the crash prevented identifying a definite cause of the TR deployment. TL;DR:...


11

This entire branch is known as avionics (aviation electronics). Limited work is generally done by the aircraft producers themselves, and the majority is subcontracted to specialist companies. A name which does come to mind is Thales group, who are behind much of the Airbus A380 avionics. Other ones are Rockwell Collins, Honeywell and Garmin. These are ...


11

Triple-redundant systems have four independent members, so if one fails, a two-to-one vote of the remaining three is still possible. One system = No redundancy. Two systems = Simple redundancy. Three systems = Double redundancy. Four systems = Triple redundancy. However, often the term "triple redundant" is used when the system has only three members....


11

Note: I focused more on changes in aviation hardware and software than what's currently used since the question linked about programming languages is still current for "new" aircraft. I do not wish to duplicate that question or its answers. In my opinion C++, C#, and Ada will probably be the dominant programming languages for avionics for the next decade ...


11

FAA/NACO charts aren't masters, either The master form of a FAA instrument approach procedure isn't the FAA/NACO approach plate for that procedure -- that plate is a derived document, just like the Jeppesen plate for that approach is. The master, instead, is kept by the FAA in textual form as a set of Form 8260s. These provide a precise, formulaic ...


11

In general, software isn't manufactured wrong. When the software is created (programmed), defects can be introduced as you described by either faulty implementations or by bad specifications. Faulty implementations are detected by testing the software. Testing takes many forms; unit testing is one of the more basic forms, where individual functions of the ...


11

Yes, an IFR flightplan can be cancelled at any time. The pilot simply tells ATC "cancelling my IFR flight", then it is cancelled. Depending on airspace classification, ATC may need to issue a clearance to continue as a VFR flight. However, diverting to another destination that originally planned is not the same as cancelling a flightplan. To do so, the ...


10

Update: Satellites were eventually used in the search for MA370, see this article. This question might be better answered by the folks at space exploration but here's a shot: Oil slicks are not uncommon at sea, so finding one from the aircraft is not too easy. It's an incredibly large area pulling a lot of processing power. You're going to need pretty good ...


10

Revised answer The ARINC 429 frame is composed of 4 bytes (32 bits numbered by convention 1 to 32 from right to left). Bits 11 to 29, which are the payload of the frame, can represent data using different formats, e.g. binary or BCD data. The label is used to indicate the content of the data field, and which format is used, and is necessary to convert data ...


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